Alexander Guerrero Rumors

NL Central Notes: Choate, Wainwright, Guerrero, Taillon

As the Cardinals battle to represent the National League Central in the World Series, let's have a look at St. Louis and the two other post-season qualifying members of the division.

  • Left-handed reliever Randy Choate had his pick of the Cardinals and the Dodgers over this past off-season, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His manager, Mike Matheny, credits him not only for his performance on the hill but for mentoring the many excellent young arms that have cycled through the team's bullpen this year.
  • Starting for the Cards this evening was Adam Wainwright, who has been as important as any player to the team's recent successes. As MLB.com's Steve Gilbert writes, the deal that brought him to St. Louis about a decade ago could not have turned out any better for team or player.
  • Walt Jocketty, the GM who pulled the trigger on that trade, is currently at the helm of the rival Reds. Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he is unlikely to bring aboard Cuban middle infielder Alexander Guerrero, who the club was rumored to be in on. "We scouted him extensively and had a lot of discussions," said Jocketty. "But I don't believe anything will happen."
  • Top Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon has been shut down after suffering a groin injury in his first outing in the Arizona Fall League, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The injury itself doesn't seem to be significant, however, and it seems unlikely to have a significant impact on the club's plans for 2014. With Taillon now unable to add additional innings to his arm, he will have a base of less than 150 to work from next season. Of course, that is about the level that Gerrit Cole had to build off of this year. Taillon also will miss the chance to develop against AFL talent, but he has already advanced to the upper minors and should get more time there to start the season.

Latest On Alexander Guerrero

Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero is back on the free agent market after his engagement with the Dodgers was called off in September.  Now, the Scott Boras client is seeking a four-year deal from interested MLB teams.  However, some of the clubs that are in on Guerrero are pushing for a longer pact.

Heyman cites the Dodgers, Giants, Rangers, Red Sox, and Reds as clubs with interest in the 26-year-old.  Guerrero and Los Angeles were closing in on a five-year, $32MM deal last month but the deal fell apart for reasons that are still unknown.  The 86ing of the near-agreement also coincided with a change in representation as Guerrero left his former agent for Boras.

Guerrero played mostly shortstop in Cuba's Serie Nacional, but most scouts expect him to move to the other side of the bag for defensive purposes.  He slashed .290/.402/.576 with 21 home runs in 328 plate appearances in his final season in Cuba.  According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Guerrero doesn't figure to be a premium talent, but he does offer impressive raw right-handed power.


Alexander Guerrero Could Sign Soon

Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero could sign with a major league team soon, agent Scott Boras tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  Boras doesn't expect things to take long with the 26-year-old since the teams that have looked into him are already quite familiar with what he can offer.

The Dodgers had him work out at their complex five or six times,” Boras said. “There are four or five other teams that have seen him five or six times.

Guerrero appeared to be close to a five-year, $32MM deal with the Dodgers earlier this month but things dissolved quickly due to reasons that are still unknown.  Soon after, the infielder signed on with the Boras Corporation and opened things up to all 30 major league teams.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard that the Dodgers are reportedly no longer interested in paying Guerrero $32MM and might not pursue him at all, but Boras told Hernandez that Dodgers international scouting chief Bob Engle visited his client in the Dominican Republic last week.

Boras compared his client's power at the second base position to Dan Uggla and likened his MLB readiness to fellow client Hyun-Jin Ryu.

There are just a couple of major league middle infielders in the free-agent market that have 10-home-run power, let alone 20-home-run power, which I think he has,” Boras said. “He’s a valued asset in the free-agent market.



International Notes: Marlins, Guerrero, Abreu, Twins

A look at the latest on the international front…

  • The Marlins made a bid for Cuban shortstop Alexander Guerrero prior to the 26-year-old's decision to hire Scott Boras as his new agent but were told that the bid wasn't competitive, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. The Marlins are no longer in the mix for Guerrero but still have interest in fellow Cuban Jose Dariel Abreu. However, the slugging first baseman would require an even larger commitment than Guerrero. Abreu is said to be looking for a larger guarantee than Yasiel Puig's seven-year, $42MM commitment from the Dodgers.
  • The Twins have signed 16-year-old Dominican prospect Alexander Vargas, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Terms of the deal are not known for the right-hander, who stands at 6-foot-3 and boasts a fastball in the low 90s, a curveball, and a changeup.  In addition to the La Academia product, Minnesota has also inked Dominican outfielder/first baseman Lewin Diaz for $1.4MM and Dominican third baseman Roni Tapia for $550K during this signing period.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Bidding For Alexander Guerrero “Wide Open” Again

3:43pm: The Dodgers are no longer willing to pay Guerrero $32MM and may not pursue him at all, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal notes that the team's position may merely be strategic; they could be backing off that number simply so Boras doesn't use that as a baseline when negotiating with other clubs.

3:15pm: Just over a week ago, it seemed that Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero was close to signing a five-year, $32MM contract with the Dodgers. SInce that time, however, the 26-year-old has left his former agent, Rudy Santin, in favor of the Boras Corporation. Boras described the bidding as "wide open," writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who reports that the Red Sox, Reds, Rangers and Giants all have interest in Guerrero and are fighting the Dodgers for his services.

MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweeted yesterday that Sanchez is looking for an overall better deal than the previously rumored agreement. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti wouldn't comment when asked by Heyman about the situation, stating that he wouldn't publicly discusss contract negotiations.

The Rangers seem a curious fit for Guerrero, with Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar all already in the fold. The Reds would have to use him at shortstop or perhaps third base due to the presence of Brandon Phillips, despite the fact that many scouts have predicted Guerrero will have to transition to second base to play in the Majors. Boston has Dustin Pedroia at second base, and Xander Bogaerts projects as their long-term answer at shortstop. The Giants, too, are a curious fit with Marco Scutaro under contract, Brandon Crawford at short and Pablo Sandoval at third base.

Guerrero hit .290/.402/.576 with 21 home runs in 328 plate appearances in his final season inSerie NacionalAs Matthew Pouliot of NBC Sports pointed out last January, Guerrero OPSed .997 or better each year in Cuba from 2009-11. Heyman points out that Guerrero could have an impact on Robinson Cano's market this offseason if bidding drags on and teams believe Guerrero to be superior to other second base options, as Guerrero will naturally be more affordable than Cano.


Alexander Guerrero Joins Boras Corporation

Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero has joined the Boras Corporation and is now entertaining offers from all 30 Major League teams with Boras leading negotiations, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez (Twitter link).

The Dodgers were said to be closing in on a five-year, $32MM contract with the 26-year-old Guerrero as recently as last week, once the right-handed swinger was cleared to sign with Major League teams by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control. It's unclear if that offer still stands at this time, or if the Dodgers are even still considered the front-runners.

Guerrero also drew interest from the Twins, Reds and Braves in the weeks leading up to his signing. He's played mostly shortstop in Cuba's Serie Nacional, but most scouts expect him to have to transition to second base for defensive purposes in order to stick at the Major League level. Right-handed power is Guerrero's biggest tool, as Ben Badler of Baseball America pointed out in a subscription-only scouting report earlier in the summer.

Guerrero hit .290/.402/.576 with 21 home runs in 328 plate appearances in his final season in Serie Nacional. As Matthew Pouliot of NBC Sports pointed out last January, Guerrero OPSed .997 or better each year in Cuba from 2009-11. Because he is older than 23 and has more than three years of professional experience, Guerrero won't count against a signing team's international bonus pool.


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Dodgers Nearing Deal With Alexander Guerrero

6:17pm: The two sides are nearing a five-year, $32MM contract according to the latest update from Sanchez (on Twitter).

2:46pm: The Dodgers and Cuban infield prospect Alexander Guerrero are closing in a multi-year deal worth $32MM, industry sources tell Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.  The deal is expected to be between five and seven years and an official announcement is expected this week.

Guerrero probably projects as a second baseman in the majors since his range and first-step quickness aren't strong enough to stick at shortstop, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required).  The offensive-oriented infielder doesn't figure to be a premium talent, but his raw right-handed power has impressed clubs.

The Twins, Red Sox, and Braves have also been in the mix for Guerrero, but the Dodgers have long been the favorites to sign him.  The 26-year-old also garnered interest from the Reds along the way, but it's not clear how serious they were or if they were still in the mix towards the end.

In his final season in Cuba, Guerrero hit .290/.402/.576 with 21 home runs in 328 plate appearances for Las Tunas.  For the last five seasons, Guerrero has posted solid offensive numbers, though the Cuban league is known for inflated offensive numbers.  Badler says that Guerrero is likely ticketed for Double-A or Triple-A to start out.

Guerrero was cleared to sign with Major League Teams by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) over the weekend.  He defected from his native Cuba in January and has been a known quanitty for some time, so the Dodgers were quick to strike a deal once it was possible.

It remains to be seen what impact, if any, the signing will have on the Dodgers' pursuit of a second baseman this winter.  Of course, the Dodgers are viewed as the biggest threat to sign Robinson Cano away from the Yankees over the offseason.


Alexander Guerrero Cleared To Sign With MLB Teams

Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero has been cleared to sign with Major League Teams by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported over the weekend (Twitter link). Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes agrees, adding that an official signing could come at any minute (also via Twitter).

Guerrero has been most heavily connected to the Dodgers, though initial reports that the two sides had agreed to a seven-year pact were premature. The 26-year-old has also been connected to the Twins and Braves over the past six weeks. In his tweet above, however, Wolfson doubts that the Twins will be the team to ultimately sign Guerrero. Soldevila adds, in a separate tweet, that the Dodgers are still the favorite.

As Ben Badler of Baseball America pointed out in a subscription-only scouting report in early August, interested parties likely view Guerrero as an offensive-oriented second baseman. Questions about his range and first-step quickness will likely prevent him from sticking at shortstop in the Majors, according to Badler, who added that raw right-handed power was Guerrero's best tool.


International Notes: Mets, Tanaka, Twins

Many international players have generated quite a bit of buzz, which should lead to some hefty paydays when they become available to Major League clubs via free agency. Jose Dariel Abreu, Alexander Guerrero and Masahiro Tanaka are just some of the big names that could jump to the Majors next year. Here's the latest on the international market, with updates on each of those three…

  • The Mets signed Dominican outfielder Ricardo Cespedes for a $725K bonus on his 16th birthday over the weekend, Baseball America's Ben Badler reported. Badler writes that Cespedes has a good, loose swing and a nice gap-to-gap approach with the speed to start his pro career as a center fielder. As Badler notes, the Mets have spent a total of $2.465MM, so they still have some room in their $3.025MM international bonus pool.
  • In a subscription-only piece, Badler also profiles Tanaka's most recent start in Japan, during which he whiffed eight hitters over seven scoreless innings to improve to 18-0 and drop his ERA to 1.15. Badler notes that Tanaka has "arguably the best splitter in the world," and reached 97 mph with his heater on his 108th pitch of the night. Tanaka would have to be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles to make the jump to MLB.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports that Abreu's lofty price tag will likely lead the Twins to "loosely monitor" him rather than become serious players for his services. He adds that the Twins are still in on Guerrero but not as deeply as other suitors (Twitter links).

Dodgers, Twins, Braves In On Guerrero; BoSox Out

8:42pm: David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link) confirms that the Braves have indeed evaluated Guerrero and would be "interested if [the] price is right."  Since Andrelton Simmons is already locked in at shortstop, the Braves would move Guerrero to second or third base.

7:34pm: The Red Sox are not one of the finalists for Guerrero's services, Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown reports (via Twitter).

6:50pm: The market for Cuban shortstop Alexander Guerrero is down to four teams, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter links).  The Dodgers, Twins, Red Sox and Braves are the clubs still in the mix to sign the 26-year-old.  The Reds have also checked in on Guerrero, though they might not be (or are no longer be) a serious contender since Wolfson didn't include them in his first group.

The Dodgers and Twins had previously been cited as two of the then-three clubs known to be interested in Guerrero, and agent Rudy Santin denied reports that his client already had a seven-year deal in place with Los Angeles.  Guerrero defected from Cuba in January and is still waiting to be unblocked by the U.S. government before he can pursue a contract with a Major League team.